Leeds United v Birmingham City: YEP jury predictions

Adryan.

Adryan.

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Our YEP jury look ahead to Leeds United’s Championship clash with Birmingham City.

JAMES HARRISON

It could possibly be our most important game of the season so far against Birmingham.

A win is getting more desperate and the games are running out quickly. There is a long time left in the season but it soon goes when you’re not playing and in a relegation battle.

We played okay at Bolton but Birmingham are a much better side with more quality throughout their team. Having lost our last two home games against Fulham and Wigan, the players will be under more pressure to perform in front of a frustrated crowd.

I think Neil Redfearn will play the same formation he did at Bolton. We got numbers forward and had something we haven’t had all season: width.

I think that Mirco Antenucci will be back in for Steve Morison, but I’m not sure how he will fit into the style of play. Last week was very direct. Morison won a lot of headers but Antenucci doesn’t have that in his game.

I also think that Casper Sloth won’t be in the side. He played okay at Bolton but the game always seems to pass him by and you can’t get away with that in Championship football.

I’d like to see Adryan in a wider position. He is one of a few in our team who can beat a man and, if he played on the left, he would get more space to cut back in on his right foot and shoot. However, I think Alex Mowatt is more than capable of playing in the wide-left position. Apart from his corners, his deliveries are normally first class and we have lacked quality crosses from wide areas this season.

I am delighted to see Luke Murphy involved again. He has had a very difficult season after his sending off at Bradford in the Capital One Cup. The former Crewe man is obviously a good footballer and we have started seeing glimpses of what he can do in the last two games. He is a ball-winning midfielder who can also pass the ball really well, but sometimes he just needs to play the game more simply instead of attempting killer passes so regularly.

Redfearn is coming under a lot more pressure week by week and if we don’t win tomorrow, it could possibly be the end for him as first-team head coach.

I am confident that the players will put in a good performance and come away with all three points, but Birmingham will certainly be no pushovers. Their squad has a lot of talent but in front of our home crowd I’m sure that our players will come out on top.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Birmingham City 0.

KEITH INGHAM

Leeds entertain Birmingham City at the weekend, the first of two home games which they need to claim some points from.

City come on an impressive run with Clayton Donaldson netting a hat-trick last weekend versus Wigan. The Midlands club have improved since the departure of Lee Clark and the arrival of Gary Rowett. They are in 12th place with 34 points. The Leeds defence will have to be wary of Donaldson and the youngster, Gray. Last time the sides met they played out a entertaining 1-1 draw at St Andrews with Thomas opening the scoring and Mowatt getting the equaliser.

On the evidence of last weekend I don’t see many, if any changes. The only one I would consider is Alex Mowatt replacing Casper Sloth. The rest did enough in the formation used to warrant another outing.

Defeat could well send us into the bottom three; I saw enough spirit last week to hope that Leeds can get three points, but fans might not have many finger nails left come full-time.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Birmingham City 1.

STEPHEN CLARK

It feels like a real watershed weekend in the offing for Leeds United as they take on Birmingham City at Elland Road tomorrow. With Massimo Cellino’s appeal having been heard by the Football League the club may be heading for even more off the field turmoil, so it is vital that the Whites put things together on the pitch.

The Blues were Neil Redfearn’s first opponents in his initial caretaker spell, back in September when the sun was shining and dreams of a successful season were still in the mind of the most optimistic of our fans. Now, four months on and in the depths of winter, Leeds are sat just above the relegation zone with only a raft of Serie B cast-offs on the way to bolster a squad who are without a goal from open play, never mind a win since December.

With the coaches’ choice of signings given short shrift, and his captain shipped out of the club, it appears that Redfearn will have to make do with the squad at his disposal. Performances have improved in the last game and a half, but do the side have the bottle for the fight ahead?

Last time against Birmingham at home, the team produced a performance that shocked everyone, the 4-0 win over the Blues perhaps one of the most remarkable of Brian McDermott’s tenure. Oh how the side need a repeat of that performance this weekend. Somehow I doubt we will see it.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Birmingham City 1

JONATHAN FORD

So after two games where we have improved our performance without getting the results we deserved, it’s time to make the performance equate to three points, against a very up and down Birmingham City team.

We should be beating Birmingham at home if we have any chance of improving a very poor position in the table.

Let’s have the same as last week with more accuracy on goal please.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Birmingham City 0

MATTHEW EVANS

Speculation about the departure of Stephen Warnock has set alarm bells ringing among Leeds fans as, to put it kindly, selling this season’s most consistent performer seems counter productive.

Three years in League 1 lives long in the memory and there are no guarantees another spell wouldn’t last even longer. Our league position is precarious and all-out panic has only been avoided by the underlying promise shown in some of our performances. Sunderland and Bolton represented an improvement. Two home games back to back is a crucial opportunity for the players to prove themselves up for the fight and settle the nerves of supporters.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Birmingham City 0.

GARY NEWBOULD

Following a poor start to the season Birmingham have won seven of their last 10 fixtures. It is now absolutely vital that United rediscover some decent home form. I’m expecting the Whites to give Birmingham the blues with a first win in seven games.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Birmingham City 1.

Full stretch: Rob Green has been ever-present for Leeds in the Championship this term.

Leeds United: How wily Rob Green still manages to get blood from a stone